January 20, 2010
I don't read a lot of non-fiction. Don't get me wrong--I read a ton, it's just that 99% of what I read is fiction novels. So I probably wouldn't have picked up Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of the Senses if a friend whose opinion I value highly hadn't recommended it to me. I'm very glad she did pass on this recommendation, however, since the poetic, thoughtful, and extremely interesting short essays within this book have been immensely enjoyable to read. I've been folding a tiny corner of the pages with some of my favorite passeges on them, and now just about half the pages in the poor book are turned down. Here's one of my favorites:
"Both science and art have a habit of waking us up, turning on all the lights, grabbing us by the collar and saying Would you please pay attention! You wouldn't think that something as complexly busy as life would be so easy to overlook. But, like supreme racehorses, full of vitality, determination, and heart, we tend to miss sights not directly in our path--the colorful crowds of people on either side, the shapes left in the thickly rutted track, and the permanent spectacl of the sky, that ever-present, ever-changing pageant overhead."